Most women have some pain during periods. The pain is often mild, but in about 1 in 10 women the pain is severe enough to affect day-to-day activities. The pain can be so severe that they are unable to go to school or work. In medical terms, period pain is called dysmenorrhoea.
There are two types of dysmenorrhoea:
Symptoms of Dysmenorrhoea
The most common symptoms of dysmenorrhoea are cramps or pain in your pelvis or lower part of your tummy. These can happen either before or during the first few days of your period. You may also have pain in your back or thighs. Other symptoms of dysmenorrhoea can include:
Diagnosis of Dysmenorrhoea
Your GP will ask about your symptoms and may also ask you about your medical history and how your dysmenorrhoea is affecting your day-to-day life. Then your GP will examine your abdomen and pelvis.
What are the treatment options for primary dysmenorrhoea?
For the purposes of this website, we are concentrating only on the treatment for primary dysmenorrhoea.
Most women with painful periods have mild pain that they can treat themselves at home. However, if your pain becomes more severe and is interfering with your usual activities, you should see your doctor.
The common forms of medicines prescribed by your GP may be a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as mefenamic acid, ibuprofen. Taking NSAIDs will help to reduce the amount of pain you have during your period. If you are unable to take NSAIDs, for example if you have ever had a stomach or duodenal ulcer, your GP may suggest you try paracetamol.
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